Favorite Experience | #2

I have noticed throughout my internship that women coming from different cultures are more disadvantaged then their male counterparts when it comes to the refugee resettlement process. A lot of the time a women will not be able to speak English and her husband will act as a translator, but the level and thoroughness of the translation varies and many time these women are left without necessary information. One of my favorite experiences has been working with a Women’s Empowerment class that teaches women job skills and provides a setting for them to socialize and build a sense of community. The women’s class helps to close this gender inequality and helps women from traditional societies to become empowered.

One of the exercises the class does involves going around town and approaching businesses to ask if they are hiring. While this may seem elementary, many women are used to getting jobs through personal connections or not being able to get a job at all. As I was escorting the women around a shopping center everyone was understandably nervous and uneasy. Finally, I persuaded two of the women to go into a restaurant and ask to speak with the hiring manager. They came out with a business card and a smile on their face. After that I couldn’t keep track of who was going where, everyone was eager to go into shops and ask for applications. It was the first time that I had witnessed a complete change of attitude in the women and had seen them brighten up to such an extent. From then on whenever one of us spotted a “now hiring” sign everyone got giddy and angled to be the one to go in and ask for an application.

It was great to witness how one simple exercise empowered these women to take control of their own job search. For many of the women who had come from Afghanistan or Iran they had never felt like starting a career or getting a job was an option. Having the option to work or not to work is one that allows you to feel free and in charge of the direction of your life. However, like many other experiences I have had at my internship this lesson was bitter sweet. One of the women had been a nurse in Haiti and another was in charge of marketing at an international organization. Knowing that they could not continue their professional careers without starting new in the U.S. was a bit hard to swallow. Still, it was nice to be able to show them a practical part of the job search process even though some of them were way overqualified. The lesson also proved that while refugees do face many barriers to employment (language, cultural norms, gender), they continue to be resilient, determined, and hopeful.

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What has surprised you most? | Prompt #3

How nice everyone is.

What I was told before beginning work in this field is that it would be intense — long hours, competitive environment, and challenging assignments. Though never said, what I envisioned going along with this was brusque, if not harsh, personalities.

Perhaps cutthroat colleagues and supervisors are common in this industry, but what I’ve found in my position is the exact opposite. From my first day, everyone I’ve dealt with has been kind and generous.

This is true in multiple senses. On the surface level, everyone has a friendly manner. Smiles, pleasant conversation, and positive attitudes abound. This is coupled with a genuine desire to always be supportive of one another. Whatever the project I’m working on, the office atmosphere is that your success is my success, and we are all in this together.

This is making for a fantastic work environment, better than I could have hoped for. That would be the case even if it weren’t an industry I’d been warned about. It leaves me with a question, though: if it’s true that this industry is a rough one to work in, and one purpose of my internship is to prepare me for working in it — is this company being an exception to the rule a good thing or a bad thing?

Future Jobs | 3

Going into my internship this summer, I wasn’t entirely sure what I would want for a future job. I really wanted to use this summer as an opportunity to explore potential jobs and varying fields. Working in the nonprofit sector has helped me realize that I am incredibly interested in working in or with this sector in the future. I love the type of environment that a nonprofit offers and the independence and responsibility staff members have. I also like the vision and goals of nonprofits, which are geared to serve others.

My summer internship has offered me lots of clarity. I always thought that I didn’t want anything to do with business or fields that have a similar structures. However, upon working in a nonprofit, I realized that not all businesses are bad. Also, upon working with Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinators, I found that I may be interested in a corporate job that helps others. I am now looking for a company that is socially responsible and has good CSR. I am glad that my internship has allowed me to explore job prospects and shift my perspective on business. In the future, I am interested in pursuing a job either in CSR or the non-profit sector.

On Track | #10

This internship has not only influenced me to stay on track with my major (Mathematics of Finance and Risk Management), but also continue my career in this field. Even though I’ve only been in this role for a couple months now, I’ve really enjoyed learning and contributing as much as I can. There is still so many things that I would love to expose myself to in risk management and this internship has definitely increased my passion for it. When I return to Michigan this coming fall, I plan on furthering my mathematics, finance, and economics education so that I can be a better candidate when I look for full time jobs.

Future Plans | Blog #3

 

When I began my internship, I was excited to see what a new field had in store for me. While I have always known that my interests lie in the biomedical sciences, more recently, I uncovered the field of computer science and the possibilities it provides. Over the past school year, I have become fascinated by the application of computer science to biological problems, particularly neuroscience, and I hoped to engage myself in this intersection. Through my online searches and research prior to and during my internship, I explored the field of systems biology, which aims to solve some of physiology’s biggest problems using high-throughput data and complex computational tools, and this field seemed very compelling. My internship this summer has provided me the basis to begin exploring computational methods and give me a sense of what of working as a computational biologist might entail. Additionally, the problems that I enjoy the most are complex and interdisciplinary, something that this field embodies. Once I finish my undergraduate career here at Michigan, I hope to attend graduate school in systems biology so that I can immerse myself in this exciting new field. Afterwards, I think I would enjoy working with a biomedical lab to build computational models, but also conduct wet-lab based research. In the past, I have interned in a genetics lab and together the work I did then and my work this summer has given me a sense for the impact computer science can have on the biomedical community worldwide. I would also be interested to develop sophisticated software that can benefit work in all walks of life, especially programs that aid the disadvantaged medical community. Technology has the power to transform medicine and human well-being far beyond the limits we face today, and therefore, I plan to use my academic interests in the most impactful way I can. So far my internship has helped me narrow down where in the field of biology I feel most passionate about, and it has provided me the opportunity to build up my skill set as I work to achieve my goals.

The Unexpected #1

My internship may be a little different from others. I applied for an internship through the Urban Alliance Alumni Program, a non-profit company that provides teens with internships. I loved the program when I joined it senior year in high school, but there was always a disadvantage of not letting us pick where we want to intern at.

WheSnapchat-6260885628644822300n I found out that I got placed at the Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic of PAWS Chicago, I was super excited because I love animals and I would be able to play with them everyday. So I started to look up the directions through public transportation and was a bit upset that I have to take two buses to get there, which is quite far.

I got up early took my buses to the clinic and when I walked in, it smelled really bad like dog poop and pee. That wasn’t the worst case, the worst was there was poop or pee to step on everyday, but that was expected since it is an animal clinic. Finally I got to meet my mentor, Laurie; she was friendly, outgoing, and nice. She took me around and introduced me to people there and everybody seemed friendly. The first day was quite nice since all I had to do was to follow some other interns to show me around and the usual things that they do there. Surprisingly there was a lot of labor work there like cleaning, breaking, setting, carrying cages. Gladly I was not made to do those labor work yet. But smoothly as time went by, I was made to do those labor work of cleaning and moving everyday. I was really upset about this because a college intern from the University of Michigan should not be doing labor work, but instead be doing something more useful. Everyday was really tiring and the first thing I did when I got home was to shower. One week flew passed and at this point I was already thinking about asking my program coordinator from Urban Alliance for a job site switch.dog

Thankfully, Laurie told me that I will be helping out at the recovery medical clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays; but I will stay and help her outreach department out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, which meant labor work still. Anyways hoping for those Tuesdays and Thursdays to come thinking it would be more exciting and fun since I will be in contact with the animals more, but it was totally the opposite. I was made to clean dirty, bloody tools that was used after surgeries and I was made to clean more cages. As time went by, the people at the recovery clinic did teach me some things on how to recover the dogs and cats after surgery; I thought it was quite interesting and better than the outreach department where I just clean all day, but it did not want to make me stay working there at the job site at all. So I have just decided to ask for a job site switch. New job site coming up!

A Little More Than Sitting Behind a Computer || #1

You’d probably expect an intern in a psychology lab to be running around conducting experiments.  Maybe that would involve reading aloud a piece of paper containing instructions of the experiment to the test subjects.  Or maybe it might be making attempts at recruiting new subjects at a pretty barren Michigan campus.

The best part of my internship at a research lab? It doesn’t involve any of those things.  Rather, I’m a part of reading and processing our raw data.  It does sound boring in the surface. Well, I guess observing somebody attempt to code and analyse data would be boring; one would probably just envision a lonely person tapping furiously away at a keyboard.  But it’s extracting data within a dataset brings its own sets of joys.  Like the joy of discovering different anomalies that diverge from conventional, textbook information.  Or the joy of learning new different shortcuts and coding languages that you could use within MatLab to make your job that more efficient.  I think I’ve once again found why it is so nice to work within a research lab: to find novel information that you’d never dream of existing.

Or perhaps it might be the fact that I don’t have to be in the hot, Michigan sun trying to find new participants in our lab study. Working under air-conditioning does has its benefits

Shocked to the Heart-2

I knew the day I interviewed for a position as a communications intern that I’d be dealing with people and their stories more than I ever had professionally. I had written other things, announcements and articles, but never life stories.

It seemed kinda cool.

I’m now quite a few weeks into this internship though and I’m shocked. I never realized how amazing, crazy, and utterly wonderful it would be to write these stories of people who succeed.

Let me take a step back. What exactly am I doing? As an intern at Detroit Employment Solutions, I write stories of individuals who have worked with DESC to find a job and financial stability and really, to get their life back on track.

I think that’s one of the best and most surprising lessons I’ve learned so far. Being professional and a journalist and a business woman does not mean freezing your heart. On the contrary, it means opening up your heart to write a fabulous piece because you care about these stories. I care about LaChrista and Loretta and Terrell. These are individuals who I’ve been able to speak with and cheer on and praise God for the way things are working out.

Who would have guessed I’d fall in love with writing in a whole new way?

Roma, Italia | #18

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Rome!

Rome was beautiful with lots of art and delicious food.

I had decided to go to Rome a few weeks ago as a last hurrah because who knows when will be the next time I will be in Europe again.

The way there was very interesting. I surprisingly didn’t have any trouble with getting up this time, and everything ran smoothly. This cannot be said for all of those that were with us. One girl had overslept so she had to rush to the train station so she could make it to the Cologne airport. When she arrived she had on a pair of dress pants, but that wasn’t the funniest part. I had noticed that her pants had looked weird. The pants had the pockets awkwardly placed in the front. At first, I thought that the placement and configuration was a bit weird, but as I took a longer glance I thought to myself those pants must be on backwards. I wasn’t the only one to realize this because someone pointed it out then she turned around. That was the dead giveaway because we saw the clip of the dress pants on the back. She got a chuckle out of it. She also broke her suitcase because she forgot the handle on her suitcase didn’t go down, so she was trying to force it and  broke it. While at the airport she proceeded to tie her shirt around the handle so she could roll it around instead of carrying it. Her misfortune had to be the funniest part of the trip.

When we  finally get there, the first thing that I noticed was the change in weather and of course the palm trees(I love palm trees). Coming from Germany, where the weather was gloomy and chilly, the weather in Rome was almost the complete opposite- sunny and scorching.

While at the Coliseum we had a rough start. We had bought our student discount tickets online thinking that we would save time and money. We were so wrong. Once we got to the desk after waiting in line for about an hour to receive our actual tickets, we were told that they were not valid because all except one of us, who contained an Austrian and US passport,  were not citizens of the EU. So we had to pay the regular price on top of what we already paid. It was kind of a bummer, but we didn’t let that spoil our day because we had a wonderful time and took some really cool pictures.

Rome was very gorgeous. I think that I got a chance to see most of the city. The only thing I wish I would have done was taken a guided tour of some of the place I visited because I like learning about history. I mean yes it’s cool to look a beautiful architecture, but getting the story behind the art makes it so much better.

I know that picture is weird, but I love it. During the photo, Frank, the guy standing behind me, unexpectedly grabbed my chest, so I just went with it. It was actually pretty hilarious.20160728_190638.jpg20160728_214031.jpg

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Surprises | 2

There have been so many surprises since moving to Malvern, PA for my internship in Environmental Health Safety and Sustainability with Janssen Biotech Inc. My first surprise came when I drove into the city of Malvern and arrived at my apartment complex. I live within a valley surrounded by beautiful green hills and among a network of streets filled with unique restaurants, great schools and historical sites at every turn. Just a mile from my apartment lies the battlefield grounds which hosted The Battle of Paoli or the “Paoli Massacre” as it is also known, which took place in September 1777 during the Revolutionary War.
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Malvern is a beautiful city 45 minutes northwest of Philadelphia, PA. A beautiful bike path runs through the town which begins 11 miles north east of Malvern in King of Prussia, PA and ends 7 miles west of Malvern in Exton, PA. As an avid walker and a person who loves being outside and taking in nature, this path has been my sanctuary. I spend at least 15 hours a week walking on this path.

My next surprise came when I discovered that a UofM alumni, who I actually met last year on my 7 month co-op with Johnson and Johnson (JnJ), was located within feet of my office at my work site. Previously we both worked in Bridgewater, NJ, but she was relocated when she was accepted to an accelerated leadership development program in JnJ. We caught back up quickly and have gone to festivals in the area, had coffee breaks and have engaged in general shenanigans at work.

The biggest surprise that has gradually revealed itself to me is how dynamic and endless the work is and minds are of the individuals within Environment Health Safety and Sustainability. The activities on-site demand constant updating and surveillance of safety programs, safety culture, permits, regulatory agencies, equipment, knowledge of great manufacturing practices and more. My team, EHSS, must constantly serve the site to help ensure the execution and maintenance of all of these dimensions on site. While the experience and education of my team might seem adequate enough to tackle all of this work, it is not and will never be. This job requires that my team learn nonstop from other individuals, new situations and problems that can arise. We partner with many people within the other departments on-site, we collaborate across seas with other pharmaceutical sites, we incorporate dozens of contracting agencies and we even compare ideas with our competition. At the end of the day, my team will do anything and everything to ensure the safety and well-being of each employee on site, and that requires us to challenge our skills, knowledge and build great networks with other innovative and experienced minds. This also requires constant training which occurs through in-person sessions, online training and through the new challenges we face every day. This job has allowed me to meet so many talented, disciplined, knowledgeable people in the field of EHSS, construction, Industrial Hygiene, Supply Chain, and Pharmaceutical Research and has taught me how challenging and rewarding my future career will be.